Advance Democracy, Respect Court Orders – Lawyers Urge African Nations

Under the auspices of the Pan-African Lawyers Union, African lawyers have urged African countries to empower human rights organizations to investigate issues of corruption including rights to education, health, and other basic amenities.

While urging African governments to “learn to give effect to decisions of continental, sub-regional Courts and tribunals as a way of advancing democracy and rule of law,” the organization also advised African governments to “learn to give effect to decisions of continental, sub-regional Courts and tribunals as a way of advancing democracy and rule of law.”

‘The implementation of decisions of African International Courts and Tribunals: The role of National Human Rights Institutions, the legal profession, and civil society organizations,’ PALU said in a communique issued following a two-day continental symposium in Abuja.

Madiwa Hoza, PALU’s Communication and IT Officer, signed the statement received by Journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

The communique said, “Human rights institutions and commissions should be empowered to look into issues of corruption as it affects rights to education, health and other basic amenities.

“The NHRIs should engage media for publicity of decisions of African Human Rights Courts.

“There should be comparative exchanges of ideas and views with other regional networks on implementation of ECHR judgements and building on the comparative experience.”

PALU and other stakeholders also urged African governments to learn to implement rulings of continental, sub-regional, and international courts and tribunals in order to strengthen democracy and the rule of law on the continent.

They condemned the growing trend of African countries disregarding the decisions of African international courts and tribunals.

The Speakers claimed that it was economically and legally incomprehensible for African governments to invest vast sums of money in establishing and maintaining such Courts only to refuse to enforce its judgements.

Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara, Vice President of the Economic Community of West African States’ Community Court of Justice; Boniface Ogoti, of the East African Court of Justice; Meredith Lwanga, of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and Femi Falana, a Nigerian human rights activist, were among the speakers (SAN).

Donald Deya of PALU, Moussa Coulibaly, President of the West African Bar Association, Archilleus Romward of the East African Law Society, Deborah Nyokabi Mburu of the Network of African Human Rights Institutions, Osai Ojigho of Amnesty International, Simitie Lawvalry of the Sierra Leone Human Rights Commission, and Anne Mary Okutoyi of the Kenya Nation Commission of Human Rights were among the others.

Justice Ouattara said it was becoming harder for the court to meet its tasks, expressing dissatisfaction with several recent policy decisions by ECOWAS governments involving the court.

Apart from that, he claims, most member states are hesitant to follow the court’s judgements, thus they have decided to limit the number of judges and their term, despite the court’s increasing workload.

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